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Eat, Drink, and Be Curious on this Western Montana Highway journey


I purchased a automotive this summer time so I might drive and discover the states round Colorado. And first on my want listing was a Western Montana highway journey. I hadn’t been to Montana since I used to be 11 years previous when my dad and mom and I did a highway journey from Illinois to Oregon and again.

All I bear in mind from that journey was being frightened of encountering a bear in Glacier Nationwide Park and consuming solely cheeseburgers for the complete two weeks.

These had been the times of with the ability to eat countless cheeseburgers…

I believe it was about time for me to see Montana with grownup eyes now alone highway journey from Denver.

western montana road trip

I’m nonetheless terrified of assembly a bear on a path, however I’ve developed my culinary pursuits previous cheeseburgers as of late. In truth, I used to be fairly excited to drive by means of Western Montana’s small cities, see the mountain surroundings, have a couple of out of doors adventures, discover the distilleries, and benefit from the farmers markets and native cafes. And I might do all of this from my new highway tripping automotive!

If you consider Montana, What involves Thoughts?

Cheeseburgers? Bears? Fly Fishing? Brad Pitt? (okay – perhaps that’s simply me…) Glacier Nationwide Park?

Glacier National Park Road Trip
Glacier Nationwide Park – Many Glacier

I believe for most individuals Glacier Nationwide Park is likely one of the huge attracts to Montana; particularly this summer time because the pandemic lingered on. Sure, the park is beautiful, nevertheless the wonder doesn’t cease on the park exit…it’s throughout Western Montana. Nature has no boundaries and the Nationwide Parks don’t have the one magnificence and funky issues to do.

So when everyone seems to be headed to Montana to go to Glacier Nationwide Park in file numbers, I’ve some strategies of the place you may go that’s outdoors of the park however simply as enjoyable, stunning, and cultural (most likely extra so) than simply Glacier.

Why Discover Past Glacier Nationwide Park?

My first reply is as a result of exploration is cool. Main is cool. And discovering your individual new experiences are extra impactful.

Lewis and Clark in Montana

Lewis and Clark famously traversed Montana not as soon as, however twice, in order a technique to honor them, I got down to actually discover past the Nationwide Park in western Montana. I took the mindset of somebody who’s main a workforce of explorers who’re about to step into the nice unknown!

montana road trip explore

ex·plore /ikˈsplôr/ verb
to traverse or vary over (a area, space, and so on.) for the aim of discovery

I do know – many individuals don’t just like the unknown – however I thrive on it. In truth, I’m all the time enthusiastic about encountering the unknown as a result of I usually suppose that I can discover a place higher than what others have discovered.

And on this Western Montana highway journey…I did.

Now you get to reap the advantages of my discoveries! I’ve cut up them into the classes of Consuming, Consuming, and Being Curious. Similar to Lewis and Clark, I’ve created a map of my route, the place I stayed, and given you an concept of what I liked and why…and what to avoid!

Western Montana Highway Journey – Eat, Drink, and Be Curious

Despite the fact that I drove from Denver (a 2 day leisurely drive), I mainly began this journey from Missoula. It’s a brilliant leaping off level for Western Montana. You can even fly into Missoula and hire a automotive.

Renting a Automotive

I’ve constantly discovered the very best rental automotive costs on (worldwide and at residence) and use them when I’ve to hire a automotive. They work with the entire main automotive corporations; try their costs and see what you suppose. I additionally love their cancellation insurance policies which are simple to search out and perceive – a should in these instances!

I stayed in Missoula attending to know this superior faculty city for two nights. The attractive factor about Missoula is that it’s really easy to get out to nature – in reality you’re surrounded by it! We used the elegant AC Lodge in Missoula as a hub for 2 nights whereas we went rafting and mountaineering – only a quick drive outdoors town. Then we got here again at night time and loved the entire meals, drink, and nightlife. We even went to a live performance there on the historic Wilma theater.

From there we went West – out to expertise the mountainous landscapes. Nonetheless, we had one drawback – wildfires.

Explorers Need to Be Versatile

wildfires montana

One of many first guidelines of being an explorer is to be prepared for something – and to be versatile while you encounter it. It is a trait of any good traveler – and Mom Nature put us to the take a look at. Wildfires had been burning round Western Montana so we needed to make a couple of modifications to our plans, however due to that we found different enjoyable issues like vintage shops and a extremely cool jail museum! We didn’t get to do as a lot mountaineering or panorama pictures as I usually would have, however I nonetheless had an unimaginable journey!

Every morning earlier than hitting the highway we’d test the most recent information on the wildfires after which should presumably reroute a bit. Don’t let issues like this ‘break your trip’ – simply roll with it and see the place it leads you. That is a part of being a accountable traveler. In truth, Western Montana really has Accountable journey tourism tips that vary from campfire upkeep, to parking, to quick altering climate, and even the place to take and methods to tag selfies!

Be taught extra concerning the Glacier Nation Tourism Pledge

Western Montana Highway Journey Map

Click on on the field within the higher left nook to get data on lodging, eating places and experiences alongside the route.

As you may see, I really did go to Glacier Nationwide Park, however I attempted to stay to the less-visited Many Glacier space. Whereas everybody was vying to get into the Going to the Solar Highway, we went to a unique space that required no reservation and was completely stunning.

As well as, we had been additionally capable of expertise the Indigenious tradition of the realm – it was my spotlight of the journey to have the ability to join with the land and the folks on this distinctive means.

Consuming my means By Western Montana

Meals wonderful meals! It’s one in all my favourite issues about taking a trip. Due to suggestions from locals I had some unimaginable meals on the highway journey. Right here had been a few of my favourite experiences.

Indigikitchen – Babb Montana

The Glacier Nationwide Park vacationer market has been historically centered on the west facet. Nonetheless, I found the east facet of Glacier and was launched to a a lot much less crowded space in addition to Mariah Gladstone of Indigikitchen.

Indigikitchen was shaped to foster an appreciation and love of conventional Native meals. The title is a mixture of Indigenous, digital, and kitchen — Mariah creates quick video cooking tutorials on Youtube for recipes that use pre-contact substances.

However as journey begins to open up once more, Mariah is engaged on a brand new expertise that may give guests a greater grasp on the panorama; a foraging and cooking class primarily based on indigenous meals.

Foraging with Indigikitchen
Foraging for sarvis berries

Her objective is to supply folks a meal product of native substances, particularly issues that they’ll have an element in foraging and harvesting, thereby ‘immersing themselves within the panorama’. It’s a means to take a look at the small components of the panorama relatively than taking a look at a glacier or mountains. As a substitute, guests can actually have a look at a glacier as berries, and flowers as flavors.

“Folks will have the ability to simply get a deeper sense of place. It goes past Pinterest footage. Folks will have the ability to have a meal and get that deeper expertise.”

Mariah Gladstone

We began by strolling round her yard choosing sarvis berries. The pinkish purple berries had been bursting with taste – I couldn’t imagine that I hadn’t heard of them earlier than contemplating their prevalence within the space. She taught me concerning the totally different native vegetation and the way they had been historically used for culinary and medicinal functions.

We had iced cedar tea with maple syrup and stuffed peppers. Mariah cooked up floor elk that was harvested up on Chief Mountain and blended that with wild rice from Pink Lake. I liked the concept she knew the place the meat and rice got here from, one thing we by no means actually know once we eat at a restaurant. For desert I helped with forming cookies from floor up sunflower seeds and maple syrup. We topped our ‘cookies’ with the freshly foraged pink sarvis berries all mashed up.

Not solely do you get an schooling concerning the land, the Blackfeet folks, a beautiful meal, however you additionally get to satisfy Mariah. She’s one in all these particular individuals who brings the entire space to life. She grew up right here and her life and tradition are woven into the landscapes. As well as, she has labored as a park ranger and is aware of the areas inside and outdoors the park rather well – so it’s a great way to get some tremendous mountaineering recommendation too! It’s a really particular expertise.

stuffed pepper indigenious cooking

To do that expertise, go to Mariah’s web site and make contact with her and request it.

Minnie’s Café – Thompson Falls Montana

The little city of Thompson Falls has one of many largest cinnamon rolls I’ve ever seen! Made recent each morning, Minnie’s Café is understood for this big plate of cinnamon-y goodness. It’s additionally recognized for its genuine small city America really feel and hospitality. Minne’s is what small cities are product of – nice homecooked meals, and a gathering place for locals.

Sit on the previous counter and order issues like meatloaf, roast beef with gravy, and malts. I chatted with some locals about what to do within the space and requested the standing of the close by wildfires. Then got here my big cinnamon roll with ice cream scoop of butter on the facet! I had by no means seen a facet of butter served with a cinnamon roll…however oh my…it’s value it.




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